enough. Keep working to be
a better writer, a better
reader, and to offer a
Dinty W. Moore is the author of Between Panic & Desire, The Accidental Buddhist, Toothpick Men, and The Emperor’s Virtual Clothes. He has published essays and stories in The Southern Review·, The Georgia Review, Harpers, The New York Times Sunday Magazine, The Philadelphia Inquirer Magazine, Gettysburg Review, Utne Reader, and Crazyhorse, among others. Moore is a professor of nonfiction writing at Ohio University, and has won many awards for his writing, including a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in Fiction.
I had the pleasure of working as Moore’s editor for his book Crafting the Personal Essay: A Guide for Writing and Publishing Creative Nonfiction. Moore’s writing is at once funny and informative, like advice from a mentor who also happens to be a good friend. Below, in one of the best author interviews I’ve ever conducted, Moore offers his insights into the craft, the balance between dreaming big and working hard, and his thoughts on personal essays as a means of selfdiscovery.
yourself repeating over and
over to writers?
There is no shortcut. Good writing takes work, stubborn revision, and more than anything, the willingness to dig deeper and deeper into a subject, even if what you find makes you uncomfortable.
the personal essay in
I am tempted to say that the personal essay is more important than ever—many blogs are made up of daily personal essays, for instance—but the truth is, the personal essay has been an important part of the literary scene for centuries, and remains important, and will remain important. It is the artist’s job to delve down into the subject in search of insight and enlightenment, and like the poem, like the short story, the personal essay invites just such exploration.
advice you’ve ever gotten?
Don’t settle for good enough. Keep working to be a better writer, a better reader, and to offer a fresher perspective.
mistake that new writers,
freelancers, or book authors
Too often, in my opinion, beginning writers focus on what point they want to make, what the message will be in their writing,